Message from Mattie’s Mom:
On Jeni’s Thriving Heartsong

Thank you to all for sharing your lovely and inspirational thoughts in response to this month’s Washingtonian Magazine article about Mattie and me. In many ways, the piece is beautiful. But I do want to re-assure everyone that I am still defying all medical odds, and moving through each day with purpose and gratitude and a celebration of life.

I am working and playing and living and praying. Yes, I have many medical challenges and they can be life-threatening, and I rely on much medical support every day – from the ventilator and oxygen to the wheelchair and IV fluids to a pacemaker and more… but despite it all, I look good (yay) and I am doing quite well (super yay).

None of us knows how much time we really have on earth. I guess, like Mattie (and many others who have statistical odds stacked heavily against them due to multiple life-threatening conditions), I am keenly aware of the sacred gift of each moment. So – by choice – I endeavor to give depth to each of those moments, which somehow helps me focus less on length of living.

That said, I also am hoping to reach my goal: “When I grow up, I want to be 83, and a beach chair philosopher.”

I am ever-grateful for ongoing prayers, which I believe has much to do with how well I am doing at this time – despite everything I have been through and continue to go through medically and emotionally.

Today, and each tomorrow, I encourage each of you to take a deep breath, and with purpose, exhale with the words “wow!” (about something or someone in your life) and “thank you!” (about you and your gift of life, and the gift you can choose to be for others).

Moving forthward with hope and gratitude.
Jeni (Mattie’s mom / Mama Peace).

PS — this article should have had a word like “resilience” or “purpose” or “gratitude” or “forthward” or “hope” in the title, and a bit more balance in the text which seemed to highlight the burdens more than the blessings… missed opportunity by the editors, even though the overall piece offers inspiration.


Link to Washingtonian Magazine article
(August 2017 issue)

“Jeni Stepanek’s Last Heartsong”
by Justin Heckert –> click here…  


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